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Meriam-Webster: Discernment– “The quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure.”

Sometimes life calls us to slow the pace way down and take an inventory, an assessment of where we are and where we are going. Our modern culture can often feel like the proverbial fast-moving, even runaway train leaving us feeling as though we are barely hanging on to the caboose. The therapeutic journey can be a discerning process of the soul; an invitation to examine and investigate our inner world as we lean into understanding what is transpiring in our lives. As a clinician, I often use Discernment Counseling which is a clinical modality used to help the “mixed-agenda couple,” where one is leaning in and another leaning out of the marriage, to decide how to move forward in a healthy way. 

I am currently re-reading a treasured book called: Discernment, Reading the Signs of Daily Life (2013). Henri Nouwen is a literary hero for me, and a great spiritual guide. About the act of discernment, Henri says that listening to the Word of God—in our hearts, in the Bible, in the community of faith, and in the voice of the poor is one way of discerning God’s plan. There are so many voices, so many cultural messages, beliefs, sentiments, information, and opinions at our fingertips these days we can easily feel overwhelmed and uncertain of our path forward. We can often feel as though life is coming at us hard and fast. Will one more click on my social accounts, or my inbox really move the needle for me in terms of discerning what direction life is taking me right now? 

It is so easy to go with the status quo – but it takes a brave heart to set our intention on discerning what is good and right. Sometimes we just need an invitation to punch fear in the face and practice discernment like a champion! You don’t have to walk the road alone! The Refuge Center for Counseling exists to offer affordable professional counseling services in order to empower, educate and support individuals, couples and families in need. As Brene’ Brown reminds us, “it takes courage to be vulnerable in a way that transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead when we dare to live great!”

“God has revealed to us so that we may understand.” 1 Corinthians 2:7-12

-Written by Master’s Level Intern, Leila Borders


Nowen, J.M., Christensen, R., Laird, J. (2015). Discernment, reading the signs of daily life. 

Brown, B. (2012). Daring greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, Love, parent, and lead.